Mexborough Councillor issues boxing challenge to Local Businessman

Mexborough’s Councillor Sean Gibbons has teased that he may challenge Yorkshire entrepreneur Jason Mace to climb into the boxing ring for a charity bout, in partnership with the Empress Rooms White Collar Boxing initiative.

A chance for beginners to train to box over eight weeks, before fighting in the ring in a safe environment in front of family and friends, this White-collar Boxing event will raise vital funds for local children’s charity, the Dearne Valley Personal Development Centre.

Founded by John and Jackie Irwin in 2012, and a place where young people attend who have found it difficult to fit into mainstream education, the Dearne Valley PDC’s learning program provides an alternative curriculum designed to engage the most challenging learner and has been tailored to meet their specific needs. The centre aims to create a positive pathway back into mainstream education or college.

With funds much needed to keep the project alive, former British and Commonwealth Featherweight Champion John Irwin is the event founder. About the planned series of events, he said, “White-collar boxing is a fast-growing corporate sport, and we have the skill, venue and experience to host a glamorous event here at the Empress Buildings Ballroom in Mexborough.”

Cllr Sean Gibbons, who is a supporter, said, “I have signed up to participate in Iron Man sponsorship, as I plan on getting in the shape of my life and may even challenge the Empress Building owner Mr Mace to take me on.

The joking Councillor added, “If I can stop the HS2 coming through Mexborough I surely stop Mace.”

“This a fabulous project to support. Some of these children wouldn’t stand a chance in life without this schooling project, which I believe should be rolled out nationwide.  These are young people who find it difficult learning in traditional academic settings and the Charity provides the perfect setting for young people to develop their life-skills and progress.”

The charity, and the white-collar boxing event is also supported by local entrepreneur Jason Mace, Managing Director of Manvers-based Gala Tent, and he said, “The Empress Building is enjoying a new lease of life, it’s really great to see the building now providing a venue for raising funds for a great cause. I have also signed up for the Iron Man package, and I have heard Councillor Gibbons boast he might throw the gauntlet down my way. Let’s see what happens, I’m sure a lot of people would like to see this bout and it would be a great fund raiser.”

A fully functional website has been developed and deployed, sponsored by Gala Tent, which provides a platform for interested participants, along with FAQ’s, training tips and nutritional advice. The first black tie event is to take place 28th May 2022, some two years after Covid-19 scuppered the first one back in 2020.

John Irwin continued, ” The great thing about these events is you get to meet a varied range of participants. We have doctors, dentists, and CEOs who all love to get involved. It’s a fantastic opportunity for networking as well. If the bout goes ahead with Cllr Gibbons and Mace, then I may just volunteer to be the referee!”

“The event is proving popular. Our VIP ring side seats, which include a 2-course meal, are already selling out fast. Standing tickets are £25. Or there is the seated ticket priced at £30, or £40 if taken with a main meal. Wherever you are in the venue, you will get a magnificent view of the fights.”

Empress Rooms WCB offer participants the chance to step out of their comfort zone and raise money for Charity by taking part in boxing.

All events are open to male and female participants over the age of 18.

Over the past eighteen months, Mace has invested in refurbishing the former Empress Building ballroom and dance hall into a hub of business, health, and community activity. The building, which dates to the 1920s, was built to mirror the great dance halls in places such as Blackpool and for decades it was the hub of social activity in the area, but in recent years had fallen into disrepair before Jason’s intervention.

If you would like to get involved or offer sponsorship then please visit

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